[Fox News] Woman forced to have her 40th birthday dinner without husband who’s ‘always running late’

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A California-based psychologist weighed in on a viral Reddit drama involving a spouse’s habitual lateness and a woman’s birthday dinner plans.

“All behavior is a form of communication. When we choose not to get ready on time — especially for someone’s birthday dinner — we are sending the message that they are not very important to us,” said licensed clinical psychologist Kathy Nickerson, who has presented marriage and relationship advice at more than 70 conferences.

That insight might confirm the unhappy thoughts of a 40-year-old woman who shared her story with others on social media, revealing what happened when she tried to celebrate her birthday with her family.

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“We had a reservation for a table at a nice restaurant for 7 p.m.,” she wrote recently about her birthday plans.

“It takes about 20 minutes to drive to the restaurant, so I planned to leave the house at 6:30 p.m. to build in time for traffic and picking up my father.”

She said that her husband, age 43, “had decided to do a bit of work on his car about half an hour before we needed to leave.”

And “at 6:30, when the kids and I were waiting by the door, he was still doing it. He hadn’t changed and hadn’t showered,” wrote the Reddit user by the name of “AcanthaceaeWilling69.”

She said she “told him to quickly get ready, but it got to 6:50, and he still wasn’t ready yet — so I decided to just leave without him.”

She shared with others, “He has a habit of always running late when we go out and he is always the last one to be ready.”

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The woman added, “Normally I can tolerate it since it only sets things back by 10 minutes at the most, but my birthday dinner was important to me and I had been looking forward to it for weeks.” 

She wrote that “making us wait for 20 minutes” was unacceptable, “so I yelled out that we were leaving and left …  I didn’t want to lose the table, since we would have arrived [at] about 7:20 p.m.”

She added, “I called the restaurant to let them know we would be late and we luckily still had our table — but my husband didn’t show up at the restaurant. And when we got home, he was mad at me.”

She continued, “I told him that I was tired of him not respecting my time and always making people wait for him, and that he could have made his own way to the restaurant.”

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The woman added that her father “agreed with my decision to leave without him, but my kids were a little upset that he wasn’t there to have dinner with us.”

Nickerson, the psychologist, told Fox News Digital that “being a couple of minutes late is typical, being an hour late is really hurtful.”

Overall, she emphasized that all communication — including this husband’s non-verbal communication — sends a message. 

She also said, “I think it was appropriate that the wife left with the kids and went to the restaurant. Why should she miss out on celebrating her birthday because her husband chose not to get ready?”

She also said, “Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he lost track of time, perhaps he was in the middle of a delicate procedure with the car. In either case, I would have encouraged him to communicate this, apologize for running late, ask for a reasonable compromise (e.g., ‘Can you call and see if the restaurant could seat us all in 30 minutes?’) and do his best to get to the birthday dinner as quickly as he could.”

Nickerson added, “It’s reasonable and understandable that she was hurt and felt unimportant. I hope they can discuss this, he can apologize — and that they can learn and grow from this experience.”

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Meanwhile, on Reddit, over 12,000 people reacted to the viral personal drama and nearly 2,000 shared comments — with most not giving the husband the benefit of the doubt at all. 

One commenter felt the husband was “deliberately trying to sabotage your birthday party” and called his behavior flat-out wrong.

This person added, “Really, though, when your husband decided to do some work on his car, you should have said, ‘No, you’re not doing that. You’re going upstairs and getting ready to leave with us.’ This was a totally predictable problem.”

Said the same commenter, “In general, you should stop tolerating his lateness. When you do that, it gets worse, not better.”

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Responding to that specific comment, another individual clearly felt differently: “It’s not on her to mother him … She showed she was not tolerating his behavior by leaving. He should have [had] the awareness and discipline to not start that project 30 minutes before they had to leave.”

Another person chimed in with this insight: “The kids shouldn’t be raised in a world where dad is allowed to ruin your birthday plans because he decided to work on his car.” 

And still another person offered this observation: “He has shown where your family lies on his list of priorities. Dead last. He can’t even remember to attend a birthday celebration. What kind of grown man can’t call an Uber/take a cab?”

This commenter added, “Honestly, I don’t even know how you’re attracted to someone so helpless and childish.”

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